But up till now, though we've had a few rendezvous, I've loved the lyra from afar. I haven't been able to get past its bruising, steel exterior to the graceful, flowing nature within.
The damn thing just hurts too much! Sitting on it? Hurts. Knee hangs? Hurts. Don't even get me started on single knee hangs, and then of course, to do all the beautiful flowing choreography, you don't just pick a pose and grit your teeth. You MOVE. You flow over the steel, up, down and all around, so that every tender inch of flesh gets a chance to be scraped, bruised, banged, and crushed.
Now, I know, for many people, that would be the end of it. I mean, we can't do everything, right? I'm never going to ride massive roller coasters, or join one of those community dodgeball leagues, for example.
But LOTS of people lyra, lots of people I KNOW, people who don't seem to have a higher pain tolerance than I do! So I've kept holding out hope that one day a switch would flip and I would love being on the lyra...
And Sunday was that day.
What was it that flipped the switch? It was SHARING the lyra! I took Megan Hornaday's amazing Aerial Partnering 101 workshop in which she and her partner taught some basic moves, transitions, and sequences for aerial partnering on silks, and on lyra. Silks were fine. I flew, I based, I hit the mat a few times...tons of fun! Then she moved over to the lyra, and I visibly winced. I knew what was coming.
But when Colleen and I inverted and hooked opposite knees on the same spinning hoop, my attention was entirely taken up with maintaining visual symmetry, and staying out of my partner's way. I couldn't spare a thought for my knee, gripping the curved bar at an awkward angle. We shifted and rolled through the whole sequence, and if it was painful, I was completely unaware of it. I was too busy communicating with my partner to notice, or care!
The next day I noticed it: a bruise under my knee, abraded skin around my ankles, but who cares about that? I couldn't wait to get back up on the lyra and try the second side, and start exploring other shapes and transitions!
I think there's a lesson in this. Something about focusing on others instead of on ourselves making tough times easier...and that's a great take-away, obviously, but I think there's something else, too: something I learned from yoga (P.S. just took another class; high five for me!!).
I've been looking with longing at the lyra for years, and I've taken a few workshops and classes from time to time, but when it wasn't working for me, I didn't force it. I didn't make myself take a class every week, or spend half an hour on the lyra at open workout. I just left it alone. And then one day the planets aligned, and now I WANT to take a class every week and spend time on the lyra in every open workout.
All the pushing and the forcing in the world will all too often not lead to the change you seek. You won't get more patient, eat better, listen more, be more assertive at work, or whatever it may be, if you're fighting with yourself to get there. It takes time to be ready to change, and that inner work is just as important, and as noble, as the obvious outer change.
Let yourself evolve gradually, from the inside out. As I like to say to my students, be prepared to surprise yourself. You never know what could shift.